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Garnett solid, lifts Brooklyn past 76ers 105-101

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm •  Published: April 5, 2014

Garnett was loose and all smiles in the pregame layup line, slapping hands and offering encouragement to his teammates. Pierce took on Garnett in a brief 1-on-1 battle, and yelled "Welcome back!" as he blew by him to toward the basket.

Garnett is the no longer the dominant All-Star of his Minnesota and Boston days, averaging 6.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 21 minutes in 49 games this season. But the layoff may help boost the life left in his legs that will be needed if the Nets are going to make any type of playoff run.

"I feel stronger than I have," Garnett said. "I'm just glad I was strong enough to be out there."

Garnett and Pierce turned back the clock on consecutive scores in the second — Garnett's big dunk was followed by Pierce's 3-pointer for a 13-point lead. The Nets led by as many as 21 before the Sixers made their run late in the fourth.

Garnett and Pierce had a seat on the bench during crunch time. That allowed the Sixers to pounce.

Carter-Williams went rim-to-rim off his own defensive rebound and finished with a one-handed dunk over Andrei Kirlenko. He helped the Sixers stay within 10 points of the Nets.

The Sixers closed within three when Williams was fouled on a 3-pointer with 3:08 left. He made the free throw for a 94-87 lead. Williams made all six of his free-throw attempts in the game.

Hollis Thompson scored a career-high 18 points for the Sixers and Sims had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"Where I draw my comfort, is that they continue to be coached," coach Brett Brown said. "We are doing our best to coach them. And we are seeing improvement. We are playing hard. And our young guys are playing their hearts out."

NOTES: 76ers C Byron Mullens (sprained left ankle) was inactive. ... Johnson has made a 3-pointer in 25 straight games. ... Carter-Williams had 11 assists without a turnover. The last 76ers rookie with at least 11 assists without a turnover was Allen Iverson on Feb. 11, 1997, at Cleveland.